How to perpetuate the “arrogant scientist” stereotype.

In a comment on Janet Stemwedel’s blog entry concerning sexism on Slashdot, the increasingly ubiquitous PZ Myers wrote:

biology actually is a real science, unlike that code bashing the desk jockies (sic) do

I note that, without such code bashing, Myers would not have his bully pulpit from which to disparage other people’s professions and beliefs.
I’ll note further that real scientists do research. Try “Myers PZ” on PubMed some time: nothing since ’98, one paper since ’93. (He did stop sneering long enough to get a dinky little paper out of computer methodology, back in ’91.)
It makes me weep for my profession to think that this arrogant jerk is fast becoming one of its more public faces. It’s particularly galling to have him spout about what is or is not science, when he doesn’t do any.

3 thoughts on “How to perpetuate the “arrogant scientist” stereotype.

  1. How…interesting. Because, as a “desk jockey” who does code bashing, I have a (minimal[1]) co-author credit on a Nature paper as recently as 2001, which is more recent than PZ’s latest by your reckoning.
    A biology paper. This biology paper.
    [1] My name got buried in the “supplemental information” section, but a lot of other code-bashers were involved and listed as authors in the print edition.

  2. From Janet Stemwedel, via email because a gremlin interfered when she tried to comment here (sorry J, I’ve no idea what went wrong!):

    I agree the comment was deliberately provocative.
    Still, I have to agree that there’s a sense in which coding is relevantly different from trying to work out the facts of a complicated phenomenon out there in the real world. Not that coding skills can’t be helpful there — I wrote many a program to drive my pumps, to collect data from my ion-specific electrodes, to run my simulations, etc. But, my sense has always been that coding is more like engagement with a purely formal system.
    Not that that would have much of anything to do with questions of gender imbalances — but when a guy who’s in CS says something dumb by trying to generalize from common wisdom about “any science department”, the folks in science departments grappling with hard stuff in, say, biological systems just might say something snarky back.
    Gotta love human nature!

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